John Boitnott April 7th, 2020

10 best recession-proof business ideas

10 best recession-proof business ideas

Recessions are nothing new in the U.S. We’ve experienced three over the last three decades. And on Friday, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) declared that the global economy had just entered a new recession as a result of the spread of the coronavirus.

This economic downturn might be the toughest we’ve undergone yet. But while millions are applying for unemployment, there’s also a ray of hope because certain businesses are actually hiring right now. That’s especially true of the businesses that provide what are now known as “essential services.”

Those that are hiring can be classified as “recession-proof businesses.” Of course, no business is completely immune to a recession. However, the success of these businesses, even during hard economic times, can give you some business ideas you may want to consider for your career or startup.

Here are 10 of the best recession-proof business ideas:

  1. Delivery

  2. No longer viewed as a luxury or added convenience, home delivery is increasingly in demand. Companies like DoorDash, Instacart, Shipt, and others are doing extraordinarily well primarily because, during this recession, people must stay home in order to flatten the coronavirus infection curve.

    This dependence on deliveries for home-based workers and others could become the norm even after the current shelter-in-place mandates are lifted, and without another outbreak in the near future.

  3. Repair or maintenance services

  4. Even while we’re sheltering in place, people still need their vehicles, appliances, and computers to be serviced and kept in good working order.

    When these things break, they need to be repaired. After all, we depend on our work devices to continue making money and our kitchen appliances for food storage and preparation, and so on. Even when money is tight, people will find a way to get these items repaired. Your repair and maintenance services don't have to be restricted to offline business. You can also run online maintenance services for companies. An example would be a tech support business. If you're looking for tips to get started in this niche, you can check out this post on how to start a tech support business.

  5. Essential services

  6. Our federal and state governments mandate that certain important services remain operational and/or available, even during shelter-in-place orders. These essential services include utilities, public works, grocery retailers, and food manufacturers. Other services, such as education, have moved online. If you can provide products and services in any of these areas, you’ll be able to ride out the recession.

    For example, if you create educational content or educational apps, your services may be in high demand. And if your technology solution can cost-effectively manage utilities, then you may also be able to carve out ongoing work.

  7. Healthcare

  8. Healthcare is an essential service that’s especially critical during this pandemic-caused recession. The healthcare industry offers many opportunities to continue working, no matter what type of recession hits. After all, everyone needs to maintain their health, and those with underlying conditions must receive critical care.

    Consequently, physicians, ambulatory care services, nurses, and specialized care providers will remain recession-proof. Home healthcare providers and veterinary services also fit this category.

    As the current pandemic shows, many companies are pivoting to provide much-needed equipment like respirators. And future recessions may create a demand for other medical devices or services.

  9. Accounting and financial services

  10. Businesses and individuals still need to complete their taxes and make financial decisions. While some will continue to tackle these tasks themselves, others will look for expert advice to help save money or reduce their tax burden. That means accountants, tax professionals, and financial advisors will continue to do well.

  11. Baby products and services

  12. Parents will continue to have babies, and they will need supplies and services that help provide necessary care. That means baby formula and food, diapers, bathing and care products, and even toys. Daycare is also critical because parents who are fortunate to have a job during a recession need to work.

  13. Cleaning services

  14. While some may give up their home cleaning service and do it themselves, other cleaning services continue to be vital. Even in a recession, a business or other commercial facility must ensure clean and sanitary conditions to maintain a safe and hygienic environment. This includes hotels, schools, and other places where many people congregate.

    The coronavirus has only increased the need for cleaning services.

  15. Property management

  16. Often, recessions can increase the number of people looking for a rental because they may no longer be able to afford their mortgages. And rental properties like apartments, condos, and houses need someone to serve as an intermediary between the property owners and the tenants, collect rent, and maintain the properties.

  17. Death and funeral provisions

  18. Although it’s not something anyone wants to think about, the reality is that death is inevitable through all economic cycles. That means funeral homes, mortuaries, and cemeteries are essentially recession-proof.

  19. Security services

  20. Recessions often make people feel increasingly desperate and can lead to increased criminal activity. Businesses need to protect their assets, so security guards and security equipment become more important in these economic cycles.

Things to consider

When preparing for any recession, consider why certain products and services are considered necessities versus luxuries. You also need to think about your typical customers and how they make purchasing decisions.

Focus on the areas that remain critical, even during hard economic times, and your business will sustain itself through all economic conditions.

John Boitnott

A journalist and digital consultant, John Boitnott has worked for TV, newspapers, radio, and Internet companies for 25 years. He’s written for, Fast Company, NBC, Entrepreneur, USA Today, and Business Insider, among others.

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